USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Claude W. Morgan, ARM1c
Claude W. Morgan. ARM1c is deceased...Date Unknown at this time
Comments made on story "The Saga of the Swayback Maru".
Partial story from the diary of
Haile H. "Jake" Jaekel
I read with great interest your "Saga of the SLC". Really stirred up old
memories. I reported aboard early in 1939 and she was home until 1942.
I left her just before her trip to the Komandorskies.
One of the big shocks of my life was flying into Pearl the morning of the
eighth and seeing the terrible devastation.
Lt. Dennis Crowley set us down in
Battleship oil and we beached at Ford Island.
Our flight to Pago, Pago, we spent most of the night straining gasoline
through chamois to eliminate the water. The fifty five gallon drums had
been buried at some secret spot. Take off the next day was almost
impossible because of a completely slick water surface and no wind.
Seaplanes must get on the step to get enough speed to get airborne. We
made several, about one mile, passes with Mr. Crowley rocking the stick
back and forth until he finally broke it lose and we got into the air just
short of the submarine net. Don't know if we picked up mail...but we did
spend a few hours outside the harbor entrance looking deep into the water
Ensign James W. Davis
Edward R. "Reg" Howard, ARM1c
....they became lost...sent
out a SOS and wisely landed on the water to conserve fuel. Wotje found us
in the air as spotters for the gunnery department. "Up 1000, Down, Right
or Left" kept them advised of how well they were doing, which as you recall
was dammed well. On one occasion they had as a target a small freighter
probably six to eight thousand tons, which they continued to practically
drown with water from near misses. Finally a broadside to end all
broadsides and it appeared the entire engine room came up with the stack,
we sent a "Cease Fire" and after a few minutes the smoke cleared and we
could still see her sitting on the surface. We sent a "Resume Fire" but
before they could take action she suddenly went down by the bow and sank
quickly. By the way.... the crew manning her stern gun kept firing till
the end. No lack of guts there.
Lt. Crowley, along with our ordnance crew, modified a one hundred pound
water filled training bomb with a fuse and filled it with aviation gas.
They called it the The Zacharias Zombie .
We dived on an inviting looking target, dropped the bomb, which exploded with one brilliant orange flash,
no fire. Perhaps this may have been instrumental in developing Napalm,
which as you know added a long burning agent to the gasoline.
You may remember me as the guy who went night wing walking out of a burning
SOC with Lt. Tate just before The Battle of Cape Esperance.
By the way, I cut off and have kept the actual piece of aircraft fabric
bearing the number thirteen, after it was damaged by gunfire concussion.
My old pride and joy went on temporary duty to the USS Vincennes, which
went to the bottom of Iron Bottom Bay.
Comments from H. H. "Jake" Jaekel
I remember watching from the fantail, the SOC catapult and catch fire.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that burning airplane. Hope to see
you at the reunion in Sacramento and maybe you would bring that piece of
fabric to display in the memorabilia room.
Return to "The Saga of the USS SLC"
1942 Letter from Claude Morgan to Edward R. Howard
Letter found in Edward R. Howard's papers and shared by son Stephen Howard
Men on a Raft, True Story
#13 in Victor Division, May 30th, 1942
V Division, "R & R"
SLC Deck Logs Jun. 1942
1975 SLC Reunion